April 10, 2009
Journalism School Not Dead but What is Inside Student's Heads?
She writes, "journalism schools are like foot-binding. They force you into a style that a bunch of dinosaurs all agreed was acceptable a zillion years ago. So in an age of blogging, you have no voice. In fact, if I were in J-school now, I’d have my knuckles rapped for using the rhetorical “you” in those last two sentences."
Forbes writes that journalism school enrollment is on the rise.....but perhaps the logic isn't targeting that $30K-50K a year job in a declining industry where newspapers may well be dead by the time they hit 30.
Perhaps some are simply thinking: "professor, train me well, give me standards, improve my writing and then hell, I'm going to start my own blog and blow everyone out of the water simply because I have standards and few other new blogs do."
Who knows, but students can't really think dying newspapers are a passing fad, particularly when this generation doesn't even read ink on a page anymore. For those who know print is dead, have they thought about their editorial role in an ever-changing online world and how they plan to make money along the way?
Or, perhaps many are simply thinking "it's not about the money." I want a Global Voices Online-like position where I can make a difference in the world.
Not everyone has an entrepreneurial spirit, so not every great writer will want to start their own blog or online news network. Perhaps journalism school is the only way they know how to get trained for a mysterious and unknown editorial future that is being shaped and reshaped as we speak, as we watch....and more than ever, as we participate.
What will evolve over time is education and training for writers. What will emerge is a new way of training, one which adopts some of the old best practices that still make sense (i.e., ethics, fact checking, what makes a good story, what makes readers get drawn in, eager to read more, standards) and adds new best practices that understand that blog writing is different than New Yorker feature pieces and that the writer has to do more than just 'report' because they now wear ten hats rather than two.
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I've been baffled to see this subject emerge for debate in the way it has.
First, j-schools fall along a wide range of the spectrum in terms of how much multi-media and social media skills they're teaching. Some are certainly stuck in the past. But for the ones that have embraced the future (Berkeley, Missouri, Northwestern,UNC), they're teaching some incredible skills that will prepare these students to be journalists across any number of platforms and organizations and news models.
Places like CUNY and Stanford have added entrepreneurial journalism programs, and research about new business models. Northwestern is creating mashup programs to create journalist programmers.
It should also be noted that j-schools in general often teach broadcast, TV and radio, newspapers, digital AND PR.
I didn't go to a j-school myself. But at the same time, it doesn't surprise me that many students are finding it relevant in age where more of them are media creators and participants.
Posted by: Chris O'Brien | Apr 10, 2009 12:43:29 PM
Maybe newspapers wouldn't be in such trouble if they didn't actually print stuff like http://failblog.org/2009/04/10/headline-fail-4/.
Posted by: ShortWoman | Apr 10, 2009 3:57:34 PM